Point of care oil analysis is now established and accelerating as companies find reliability improvements and cost savings.
In a recent reliability survey, between 60 to 70% of industrial facilities employ oil analysis as an important component of their reliability programs. Oil analysis gives a snapshot of machinery health, preventing unnecessary oil changes and predicting equipment failures before they happen. Most organizations draw oil analysis samples and ship them off-site to be analyzed in a laboratory. The results are sent back anywhere from days to weeks depending on location and industry.
Point of care oil analysis (today’s on-site oil analysis) has grown rapidly in the last three years as leading companies in power generation, mining, food production and industrial manufacturing invest in tools and software solutions to insource at each production site. Benefits experienced by these early leaders indicates that this trend will accelerate more now, despite current challenges. Here are 5 reasons why organizations across the world are investing in point of care solutions:
- REASON #1 Rapid Analysis: Point of care solutions provide the maintenance team with accurate answers about equipment when needed. This is especially important when teams are working in 24/7 operations. Waiting for data to come back in days or weeks to make important decisions is not viable.
- REASON #2 Lower Maintenance Costs: Facilities who have deployed point of care solutions have justified their investment payback in as little as six months. Changing to a condition-based oil change has immediate effects. Reducing or eliminating outside laboratory testing is significant, including the logistics costs. Monitoring incoming oil deliveries for cleanliness and ensuring they have the correct oil reduces risk to equipment. Proactive and root cause analysis detects early machine failure and reduces spare parts and overhaul labor.
- REASON #3 Simplicity Breeds Confidence: Major advances in electronics, software and sampling approaches have transformed the measurement tools for condition-based oil analysis in the last five years. Easy-to-operate instruments, with little to no chemicals, means data can be generated by the maintenance team in the course of their daily tasks. The new generation of systems have, at their core, software that integrates the data from all the instruments and combines them into a simple report. Automated recommendations are available from startup, and they may be changed or added as the team learns more. The ability to share the report across the organization immediately, via cloud or hosted enterprise software, links all reliability stakeholders.
- REASON #4 Better Analytics for Decision Making: Point of care oil analysis improves data integrity in a number of ways. First, freshly sampled oil provides better insight to the equipment. Retests to corroborate or debunk a possible problem is much easier than working with an off-site supplier. Pertinent information about samples can be verified immediately. Engineers and reliability technicians have access to OEM guides and manuals, and they know the operation intimately. They are in the best position to establish alarms.
- REASON #5 Duplicate Success with Enterprise Tools: Shared software platforms, with the same point of care solutions throughout multiple sites, increase efficiency within an enterprise. Early adopters of point of care oil analysis have realized that successful oil analysis programs are easier with common platforms.
Oil analysis at various plant locations was once reserved for those who could duplicate off-site laboratories. This model has changed in the last few years. The process can be brought on-site with little ancillary equipment or training. Miniature, rugged, portable instruments make this process simple and accurate without the need for solvents and dangerous chemicals. Point of care oil analysis is a proven and viable path forward for organizations looking to reduce risk.
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